11 Lesson 10 -趙簡子舉兵而攻齊

趙簡子舉兵而攻齊 (《說苑》)

              Zhàojiǎnzi jǔbīng ér gōngqí   (Shuō yuàn)

趙簡子舉兵而攻齊。令軍中有敢諫者罪至死。被甲之士名曰公盧,望見簡子大笑。簡子曰: “子何笑?” 對曰: “臣有夙笑。” 簡子曰: “有以解之則可,無以解之則死。” 對曰: “當桑之時,臣鄰家夫與妻俱之田。見桑中女,因往追之,不能得 ; 還反,其妻怒而去之。臣笑其曠也。” 簡子曰: “今吾伐國失國。是吾曠也。” 於是罷師而歸。

赵简子举兵而攻齐。令军中有敢谏者罪至死。被甲之士名曰公卢,望见简子大笑。简子曰: “子何笑?”  对曰: “臣有夙笑。”  简子曰: “有以解之则可,无以解之则死。”  对曰: “当桑之时,臣邻家夫与妻俱之田。见桑中女,因往追之,不能得 ;  还反,其妻怒而去之。臣笑其旷也。” 简子曰:“今吾伐国失国。是吾旷也。”  于是罢师而归。


Lesson 10 vocabulary

趙(赵)簡(简)子 Zhào Jiǎnzǐ [Name of a person]
舉 (举) to raise, to mobilize
bīng troops
gōng to attack
lìng to command
軍 (军) jūn army
諫(谏) jiàn to remonstrate, to object
zuì crime, guilt, punishment
to wear
jiǎ armor
shì officer
公盧(卢) Gōng Lú (name of a person)
wàng to view, to gaze at from a distance
chén I (your servant, first person pronoun, humble)
old, of long standing
xiào joke
有以 yǒu yǐ to have the capacity to
jiě to explain
則(则) [a conjunction]
當 (当) dāng at (time)
sāng the mulberry tree; to harvest mulberry leaves
鄰 (邻) lín neighbor; neighboring
jiā family
husband, man
婦(妇) wife, woman
wǎng to go
zhuī to pursue
曠(旷) kuàng single (of man); to be desolate, absent
to attack
shī to lose
於是 yú shì thereupon
罷 (罢) to disband; to stop; to give up
師 (师) shī army

Commentary to lesson 10:

1.1: 令 takes an indirect statement: “He commanded that…”

1.2: 有以 is best understood as “the means”; “if you have the means to explain it…” It is negated by 無. The meaning of 無以 is: “if you do not have the means”.

Grammar Note 9

1. More about 於 yú: 於 yú:  is variably described as a “coverb” and as “to, in, from, than”, and this is its common use as an empty word.  (It can also be a full verb “to take a position”, nominalized to mean “position”, as in 王之於國 wáng zhī yú guó “the king’s position toward his country”).

As an empty word, followed by its noun object, 於 yú commonly forms a coverbal or prepositional phrase which comes after the verb: 生於燕,長於楚 shēng yú Yān, zhǎng yú Chǔ “born in Yan, grew up in Chu” (lesson 9).  If you are familiar with Mandarin you may be thinking of 於 yú as equivalent to Mandarin 在 zài “at, on, in”.  When you are writing in Classical Chinese you must remember that Classical Chinese 於 yú and Mandarin在 zài, while similar in meaning, are used differently with respect to word order, for 於 yú phrases, as noted follow the verb and do not generally precede it, while 在 zài phrases may do either: 他們在家裡玩兒呢 tāmen zài jiā lǐ wánr ne “they are playing at home” (preceding the verb)  住在家裡 zhù zài jiā lǐ (following the verb).

The rule in Classical Chinese that 於 yú phrases following the verb is not, however, without exception.  The exception you will most often see is the expression 於是 yúshì “at this, thereupon”, which often begins a sentence, as in the last sentence of lesson 10.

2. Verb of manner. In lesson 9 the expression 愀然 qiǎo rán “sad(ly)”, 喟然 kuì rán “deep(ly)”, 涓然 juān rán “streaming(ly), and 啞然 è rán “loud(ly)” are all verbs of manner (Shadick, pp. 721-22), a set of verbs especially restricted in function – for example, they can’t be negated.  Often, as here, they modify another verb to which they may be joined by而 ér, as in 喟然而嘆 “deeply sigh” etc.  然 rán is a common suffix of verbs of manner.

3. As we have seen (Grammar Notes 1, 4), ” 而 ér is a conjunction which joins verbs or verb phrases, meaning “and, and thus, and therefore, but”. The most common conjunction “and” which joins nouns or noun phrases is 與 yǔ as in 夫與婦 (Lesson 10).

4. Another contraction. A common sentence-final phrase in Classical Chinese is 而已 ér yǐ, literally “and stop” meaning “and there’s the end of it, that’s all (there is to it), that’s it, that’s the whole story.” The expression而已 ěr yǐ is sometimes contracted to 耳 ěr as in 此晉國耳 cǐ Jìn guó ěr “This is the State of Jin and no other – this is only the State of Jin.” Compare the Mandarin sentence-final phrases 罷了 bà le and 就是了 jiù shì le.

Both而已 ér yǐ and its contraction can be followed by 矣 yǐ (cf. the 了 le in the Mandarin expressions just cited).  Thus the Classical Chinese expression can take four forms:

而已 ér yǐ                           耳 ěr

而已矣 ér yǐ yǐ                  耳矣ěr yǐ

The verb 已 yǐ “stop” which (in full or contracted form) occurs in all these variants, should potentially be the main verb of the sentence, since it follows the (full or contracted) conjunction.  But in fact this phrase had been reduced to an idiomatic tag ending of sentence.

而已 ér yǐ /耳 ěr is an interesting example of an expression which coexisted in uncontracted and contracted forms (just like English will not, won’t).  The other Classical Chinese contractions we have seen had supplanted the contracted forms they derived from: 耶 yē from 也乎, 焉 yān   from 於 yú plus ? an (meaning 之 zhī), 然 rán from 如 rú or 若 ruò, plus the same final; 耶 yē  seldom occurs uncontracted, 焉 yān and 然 rán  never.



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Introduction to Classical Chinese Copyright © 2024 by Andrew Schonebaum; Anthony George; David Lattimore; Hu Hsiao-chen; Judith Zeitlin; Kong Mei; Liu Lening; Margaret Baptist Wan; Patrick Hanan; Paul Rouzer; Regina Llamas; Shang Wei; and Xiaofei Tian is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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